Top Personal EDH Parallels for Pauper

18 Mar 2022 - 10 min read

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What’s up everyone it’s Chev and Jules. We’re joining forces to bring you another edition of PDH downshifts! Previously we approached the idea of finding PDH parallels to EDH powerhouses by trying to find the most similar pairs that already existed. Today, we’re focusing on taking our PERSONAL commander decks and finding the closest Pauper comparisons. Feel free to steal these sick deck ideas (for a commission of course) and let’s begin!

Toshiro Umezawa -> Syr Konrad, the Grim: Chev

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

Toshiro is…a weird dude. This monoblack Spellslinger has a lot of fans, myself among them, but recursion of instants is rarely seen these days outside of red and blue. So finding a direct parallel in Pauper is challenging at best. What we need to do instead is get a little creative and focus on the essence of Toshiro which is uhh murder. Enter: Syr Konrad, the Grim. Instead of spell slinging, we’re just straight up damage dealing every time a creature dies. Or is milled. Or exiled. No more doubling up on Doom Blades , but I promise you won’t even miss them.

You could elect to play Syr Konrad “fairly”, focusing on a massive slew of removal spells and hand destruction using the likes of Bone Shards and Delirium Skeins to keep the board clear of threats and deal heaps of damage in the process. Or, you can elect to do as Clay of The Tryhards has done and turn Syr Konrad on your OWN boardstate to truly devastating effect. Here’s the decklist if you want the full picture. To give an idea - imagine what a Tortured Existence on the field might allow you to do…crazy, right? And God forbid you manage to target yourself with a Bojuka Bog and a yard full of creepy crawlies. This approach has less samurai vibes (did you know Toshiro has Bushido? Neither did we), but is deviously fun to pilot.

Tatyova, Benthic Druid -> Zimone/Gretchen/Coiled Oracle: Julian

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

So um… I guess, first, I should address the merfolk in the room: Tatyova, Benthic Druid can already be your PDH commander, suckers! AND, she’s really frickin’ good. Like, “people are calling for her head” good. But me saying just play Tat in both EDH and PDH would be a cop-out, and playing one of these other inclusions will warrant way less hate. Enter, well, actually a bunch of options!

For better or worse, Simic really only knows how to do two things: ramp and draw cards. Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy and Gretchen Titchwillow are both products of the recent legendary boom (similar to the “baby boom” after WWII, but different) that are almost boringly Simic. However, they’ll provide the necessary value to support whatever shell you choose, just like Tatyova.

“I want to cast 8 drops” tribal is always an option when you’re working with this much mana, but my personal Tatyova deck functions much more on a Landfall based package. Unfortunately, we don’t get Avenger of Zendikar with 99 commons, but we can play Sporemound , a card that was good enough to see inclusion in all but my most recent build of Tatyova. Same with Ior Ruin Expedition , and Khalni Heart Expedition continues to do excellent work for me.

Now to substitute for other powerhouses such as Cultivator Colossus and Ulvenwald Hydra we have to dig a little deeper. The crux I present is Landfall aggro with Zimone at the head. Being able to instant speed put a land down with the prodigy so that our Territorial Baloth , Territorial Scythecat , and Windrider Eel win combat sounds excellent. Add a staple like Freed From the Real to untap Zimone and a Stone-Seeder Hierophant and you can enable some real explosivity. Or, you can just ramp a bunch, draw a bunch of cards and play some expensive cascade beaters. Zimone or Gretchen will work for that, heck, if you wanted to be cheeky, you could even use Coiling Oracle at the helm. Anyway, no matter which you choose, even though Simic isn’t the most out of the box strategy, it’s still powerful and hella fun to play.

Osgir, the Reconstructor -> Heiko Yamazaki: Chev

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

When it comes to red, NEO really spoiled us. Between Kami of Industry , Experimental Synthesizer , Akki Ember-Keeper , and some awesome colorless artifact support there has never been a better time to play mono red artifacts in PDH. (Editor’s Note: Until The Brothers’ War. Probably.) Which brings us to our Commander Of The Paragraph: the parallels between Osgir and Heiko Yamazaki, the General are pretty clear - both are trying to get maximum value recurring artifacts turn after turn. And while Heiko doesn’t have the ability to put artifacts in the yard herself… she does get one up on the giant artificer by recurring the actual artifact and not token copies. This might seem trivial at first but when the Cryptic Serpent player (Julian) is looking down the barrel of your fourth Tormod’s Crypt , you’ll really enjoy the difference. This slight adjustment in recursion technique can really help in the longer stretches of PDH games where nothing much seems to happen. There’s plenty of value in just saccing a Mind Stone or Wayfarer’s Bauble four or five turns in a row when you don’t have better targets.

PDH doesn’t have a lot of high value artifacts besides a few large creatures ( Maelstrom Colossus , Accomplished Automaton ), so your recursion abilities will largely be used generating incremental value via utility artifacts, giving Heiko a bit of a “control” feel.

Outside of all that artifact stuff, we can’t forget Heiko’s ability isn’t exactly free. We need to make sure we’re attacking every turn with a single samurai or warrior so whether that’s Heiko herself or a Kazuul’s Toll Collector (I think you can start to see where I’m going with the rest of this deck) we’re going to want to make that attacker MATTER since we only get one. So stock up on equipment baby, we’re going Voltron! Goblin Champion , Akki Ronin , and Peerless Samurai also make great single-swinger targets by being both the relevant types AND giving you further benefits for your lone ronin attack whether that’s the new one or old favorite exalted (which stacks, btw). Finding the balance between recursion and combat might be difficult, but I have faith in you.

Svella, Ice Shaper -> Gilanra and Alena: Julian

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

F#$%. I did it again. Screw those other Hexdrinkers playing rares and mythic rares in our pods, I’m out here with my humble uncommons. Born for the PDH life. Now, Svella, Ice Shaper unfortunately isn’t as easy to analogue as Tatyova. Our favorite Troll has a unique ability especially when it comes to Gruul. The spirit of my Svella build is to make as many Icy Manaliths as possible in the early game and then use our obscene amount of mana to power out big Gruul beaters and powerhouse spells with Svella activations. In that spirit, I propose a partnership of Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood , and Alena, Kessig Trapper . Both provide you the mana to play your haymakers and Gilanra gives you card advantage, that I will loosely parallel to Svella casting a card for free.

Okay, now that we’ve got our commanders picked, you just need to fill your deck up with big dumb cards. To scratch that Svella itch, might I suggest the excellent cascade commons from Commander Legends? Annoyed Altisaur , Maelstrom Colossus , Boarding Party , etc are all great and a few of them even made a splash in my initial $30 Svella build (this is where Chev gets on his soapbox about budget decks again). You don’t need me to tell you about the good red removal spells or green ramp spells at common, so I’ll skip to my last piece of tech for a deck like this. Since this build (and most Svella decks) function on untapping to sneak multiple activations, consider cards like Vitalize or Mobilize . These can mean at least another card off Gilanra and another cast off Alena mana if not more. Heck, even an Act of Treason effect could work since it can either steal a creature from an opponent, or just untap/give haste to one of your commanders, especially since Alena could be netting you four or five mana even after paying for Act.

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons -> Obelisk Spider: Chev

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

I will make -1/-1 counters work in PDH dammit! Yes, Thalisse, Reverent Medium might be a better fit on token generation and swamping the board but…if I wanted tokens there are plenty of other decks out there. I want what makes Hapatra unique. And like Hapatra, we’re probably going to ignore Obelisk Spider’s first ability 90% of the time. Obelisk is a 1/4, and outside of some fringe commander damage situations Opponents will probably take that one damage 15 times a day (geddit? Cause commander damage is to 16?). Now, we could load our spider up with enough Auras to kill a horse and start swinging but we’re probably better off just using the ability dedicated to generating -1/-1 counters, ya know, infect (wither? LOL). Between both Infect and Wither, there are 31 cards at common that either have infect/wither or give it, not bad for pauper support. You could even use something like Phyresis to let Obelisk Spider get in on the fun! Full circle baby!

Our main plan will be filling the board with these disgusting little infectious nasties, keeping them around despite our opponents best efforts with effects like Abnormal Endurance to ensure we’re either infecting our opponents straight in the face or popping counters on their precious blockers triggering the spider. Most of the time you’ll just want to hit face ( Thieves’ Tools anyone?), but putting your opponent between a rock and a hard place is this strategy’s bread and butter. Also we’re in black so like, worst case when your board falls victim to Removal, just use a Blood Beckoning and your Corpse Cur can continue mowing down the opposition. Oh! And don’t forget Obelisk spider triggers on any creature so you can still ping opponents when dropping your Wickerbough Elder and Devoted Druid . Actually…Something something Devoted Druid, auras, Giant Growth , win? Food for thought.

### Chromium, the Mutable -> Nightveil Predator: Julian

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

And lastly, my crown jewel, the deck I’ve had the longest: Chromium, the Mutable . Now, this list is really the dirtiest and durdliest of my proclivities as a control mage. Board wipes, removal, card draw, counterspells. Hell yeah. And it’s all backed up by a few haymakers and an evasive general who can commander-damage kill opponents quite quickly. Switching gears, there’s only one real way that I see to take this into PDH, and that’s with Nightveil Predator .

Nightveil Predator is basically Chromium pre-steroids. Predator flies and has hexproof (evasion and protection) and he can definitely threaten a commander-damage kill. However, and most importantly, the Predator is Dimir. Those of y’all who have experience with PDH will know blue and black and both incredibly powerful, and their combination has the most diverse and potent set of tools in the format. What better way to get in the spirit of a downshift than to load up on Counterspell , Snuff Out , Pestilence , and Into the Roil …ya know, cards you’d be playing at any level. In fact, this deck doesn’t even need to hope it can amass a Grave Titan army win, because it can easily run High Tide combos.

If you like making sure that you’re the one dictating the pace of the game and want to have an answer to everything, then this is the deck for you. I highly recommend checking out the incredibly knowledgeable PapaPauper’s Moxfield and looking at the PDH color packages there for all of the most efficient and powerful spells. You’ll be wanting nothing but heat in this deck.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnd that’s that folks! We hope you enjoy this breakdown. If you like these ideas and commanders, let us know how you built them and what we forgot to mention. Also, let us know which of your personal decks you’d want to translate into PDH and how you’d do it. Until then, best of brewing!

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